A new study found that YouTube’s recommendations sent violent and graphic gun videos to children as young as nine years old. Many of the videos violate the platform’s own policies against violent or gory content.
In a study to understand the connection between YouTube videos and gun violence, researchers at a nonprofit U.S. group that studies social media set up accounts on the platform that mimicked the behavior of typical American boys, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
Researchers simulated two nine-year-olds who both liked video games. The accounts were identical, except that one clicked on the videos recommended by YouTube, and the other ignored the platform’s suggestions, said the report.
The account that clicked on YouTube’s suggestions was soon flooded with graphic videos about school shootings, tactical gun training videos and instructions on making firearms fully automatic.
The findings show that despite YouTube’s rules and content moderation efforts, “the platform is failing to stop the spread of frightening videos that could traumatize vulnerable children — or send them down dark roads of extremism and violence,” the report added.